APD hiring, practices questioned in Torres case

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Day three of the wrongful death lawsuit against the Albuquerque Police Department focused on the officers involved in the deadly shooting.

Christopher Torres, a schizophrenic man, was shot three times in the back. On Wednesday, his family’s attorney questioned why the officers didn’t call for help from someone who’s trained in mental illness.

A video of former APD Chief Ray Schultz was played in court. He took the top spot in 2005 under Mayor Marty Chavez when there was a big push to beef up the number of officers.

“Chris Brown, the man who shot Christopher Torres, was one of those officers,” an attorney can be heard saying in a taped testimony. “I don’t know,” Schultz replied.

“Chief, do you know that Christopher Brown shot Christopher Torres in the back?” the attorney asks. “I know he was involved in a deadly force encounter with Mr. Torres,” Schultz answered.

In the video, an attorney presses Schultz about C.J. Brown, one of the officers who confronted Torres in his backyard in 2011.

The attorney says Brown was turned away from APD in 1997 because of financial problems and from Rio Rancho Police in 2005 because of attitude problems.

Torres was shot and killed when Brown and Richard Hilger served an arrest warrant for a previous road rage incident.

His family says it was police force going too far.

The city says Torres was scuffling with the two officers and even tried reaching for one of their guns.

Torres was diagnosed with schizophrenia.

A former APD detective who worked with the Crisis Intervention Team testified Wednesday that people with mental illness can be tough to handle. He says bringing in someone with proper training could have helped the situation.

“Would they have the resources at APD to call someone from CIT to help them serve the arrest warrant?” Kathy Love, an attorney for the Torres family asked. “They would have that resource if they wanted to,” Xavier Lopez said.

New Mexico’s Chief Medical Investigator also testified Wednesday. He says it’s hard to say if certain cuts on Torres’ hands show whether he struggled with officers before the shooting.

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